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Vielfalt als Qualitätsmerkmal - Mobil in Europa
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Over the last few years we have observed a growing internationalisation as a result of increased mobility, migration and globalisation in all courses in all the departments of the state Adult Education Institutes (Volkhochschulen) in Mecklenburg – West Pomerania, Germany. This development brings more heterogeneous course members with their wide variety of languages and cultures; social, political and religious backgrounds and ways of life which result in a myriad of individual biographies including the ways in which they have learned. This juxtaposition of cultures and languages in the courses brings a whole new dimension and quality which influence the whole learning process in the adult education context as well as all those involved in this process. Language competence /Multilingualism, intercultural competence and the development of quality in the classroom have become core issues in finding solutions for these new challenges. The Volkshochschulverband Mecklenburg - Vorpommern e. V. is reacting to this current need by initiating the project `Variety as a sign of Quality - Mobile in Europe´ (Mobility in learning in Adult Education) The one to four week learning mobility visits in Europe, which are supported by the Erasmus+ programme, are planned as a way of strengthening the competence range of not only the course leaders but also of the full-time employees in the Adult Education institutes as well as in the head office within Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. This two-year project hopes to offer qualification programmes for 60 course leaders and full-time employees in six countries. These will be in three group and 24 individual programmes. Two groups each with 12 teacher participants will attend a week-long course which has been specially tailored for this target group at the Manchester Language School in 2015 and 2016. The contents include, among other things, cultural encounters, state of the art methodology and practical workshops. Participants will have the opportunity to confront learning and intercultural barriers in (foreign) language teaching and to familiarise themselves with strategies for finding solutions for difficult situations which could occur. A further group mobility programme is aimed at 12 full-time employees and those responsible for integration of those from other cultures in the adult education institutes. This will also take place in the United Kingdom. The aim of this programme is to markedly improve communication skills that go beyond language and intercultural awareness; at the same time it is hoped to develop a network to exchange opinions on current educational themes within Europe. In addition, it is hoped that further joint European projects can be conceptualised. The 24 individual mobility projects are aimed at giving course leaders the opportunity to refresh and extend their methodological and language skills in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish and Norwegian for courses covering the whole range of levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). In addition, intercultural, cultural and personal competences are to be acquired or deepened. The full-time employees will also have the opportunity to extend their skills in educational management in English-speaking workshops. Not only the course leaders and the full-time employees will benefit from this increase in competence but also the participants within the courses and the adult education centres including their headquarters (Volkshochschulen) in general. It is hoped, for example, that impulses for new course types will be given, for trying out new course locations as well as learning and teaching methods. The knowledge gained can also be cascaded in in-service courses for teachers and employees in individual adult education institutes to improve the quality of their service. The advisory side of dealing with customers can also be improved through improved communication skills. The range of courses offered can also be diversified in accordance with customer needs and wishes. Through contact with other cultures the teachers will be more sensitive in dealing with heterogeneity and hence in providing in an improved classroom atmosphere. The insights gained will be integrated in the quality improvement process e.g. in the mission of the adult education institute (Volkshochschule) and its human resources in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. It should not be forgotten that the Volkshochschulen, as municipal institutions, radiate throughout their individual administrative districts and the heads office at the federal state level. Impulses for extending and developing international co-operation and networks could be gained and new European partners be won.

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